ESPN Moving To Single Ratings Number That Includes TV, Streaming
ESPN and Nielsen are reimagining how TV ratings are reported, and starting Tuesday plan to release a new figure that incorporates both traditional TV and streaming. This deal is unique because ESPN no longer will sell advertising off of the traditional TV rating that has been part of the business’ currency for decades. ESPN President of Global Sales & Marketing Ed Erhardt said that all of the net’s ad clients have agreed to one number that incorporates TV and streaming; and more than 50% have signed deals that include out-of-home viewing. “It’s a process,” Erhardt said during a Friday conference call. “We feel pretty good about the progress that we’ve made.” ESPN will stop putting out ratings numbers that separate traditional viewing and streaming viewing.
The first test of the new ratings figure comes Tuesday, the day after ESPN’s Cowboys-Cardinals “MNF” game. The next day’s rating will include TV viewing “no matter how that content gets to the TV set,” Coletti said. That will include viewing through apps and smart TVs. A week later, ESPN will release another number that includes viewing via mobile and computer devices. And two weeks after that, it will release a third and final number that includes out-of-home viewing. “We are all endeavoring to compress this as much as we can,” Erhardt said. “We’re in the first inning of this.”